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G. R. No.

L-30026, January 30, 1971  Existence of a denial of a constitutional right


would suffice to raise jurisdictional question
PETITIONER and APPELLATE: MARIO GUMABON, and retroactive effect.
BLAS BAGOLBAGOL, GAUDENCIO AGAPITO, EPIFANIO o This is favorable to one already
PADUA AND PATERNO PALMARES sentenced to a final judgement under
RESPONDENT and APPELLANT: DIRECTOR OF Art. 22 of the RPC.
PRISONS o Due to this the court would have to
grant the petition

 Habeas corpus, the great writ of liberty, is relied o The fundamental issue, to repeat, is the
upon by petitioners, five in number, for their availability of the writ of habeas corpus under
release from imprisonment. the circumstances disclosed.
 The ruling for the People v. Hernandez doctrine  Latudinarian scope- assure
was not handed down until after their convictions that illegality of restraint and
had become final. detention be avoided.
 Whereas in Pomeroy v Director of Prisons  Writ of Habeas Corpus is also
likewise petitioned for habeas corpus and the known as writ of liberty.
court denied the petition.  Ascertains whether there is
 The then again plead for a new look on the any legal justification for a
matter. deprivation of physical
 They argued that in the Hernandez decision once freedom.
promulgated calls for a retroactive effect under  If there is a valid sentence it
the explicit mandate of the RPC even if at the cannot be extended beyond
time of their application a final sentence has the period provided for by the
been rendered "and the convict is serving the law.
same." These arguments carry considerable  If there are deviations from
persuasion. legal norms calls for
termination of imprisonment.
FACTS OF THE CASE:  The liberality with which the judiciary is to
construe habeas corpus petitions even if
 Gumabon plead guilty and was sentenced on presented in pleadings on their face devoid
May 05, 1953 to suffer reclusion perpetua of merit was demonstrated in Ganaway v.
for the complex crime of rebellion with Quilen.
multiple murder, robbery, arson and  Likewise, in Conde v. Rivera, one that
kidnapping. broadens the field of the operation of the writ,
 While Agapito, Palmares and Padua pleaded that a disregard of the constitutional right to
guilty to the complex crime of rebellion with speedy trial ousts the court of jurisdiction and
murder and other offenses and made to entitles the accused if "restrained of his
suffer same penalties on March 08, 1954 for liberty, by habeas corpus to obtain his
the first two and December 15, 1955 for the freedom."
third.  The writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental
 Bagolbagol was gulty for complex crime of instrument for safeguarding individual
rebellion with multiple murder and other freedom against arbitrary and lawless state
offenses on January 12, 1954 and penalized action.
with reclusion perpetua. o The scope and flexibility of the writ —
*All five has been since then imprisoned by virtue of its capacity to reach all manner of
the above convictions. Has served more than 13 illegal detention — its ability to cut
years. through barriers of form and
 In the case of People v Hernandez the court procedural mazes — have always
ruled that his crimes was not warranted been emphasized and jealously
under Article 134 of RPC, there being no such guarded by courts and lawmakers.
complex offense. o The very nature of the writ demands
that it be administered with the
 The petitioners feared that the case of
initiative and flexibility essential to
Pomeroy would become an obstacle to their
ensure that miscarriages of justice
release they decided that they are going to
within its reach are surfaced and
resolve their petition without the help of the
corrected.
case.
 Where, however, the detention complained of
 The plea made was not convincing due to
finds its origin in what has been judicially
failure to invoke the contentions pressed by
ordained, the range of inquiry in a habeas
their counsel (Atty. Diokno).
corpus proceeding is considerably narrowed.
 If "the person alleged to be restrained of his
liberty is in the custody of an officer under
process issued by a court or judge or by virtue
of a judgment or order of a court of record,
and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to
issue the process, render the judgment, or
make the order," the writ does not lie.
 Once a deprivation of a constitutional right is
shown to exist, the court that rendered the
judgment is deemed ousted of jurisdiction
and habeas corpus is the appropriate remedy
to assail the legality of the detention.
 Thus, the continued incarceration after the
12-year period when such is the maximum
length of imprisonment in accordance with
our controlling doctrine, when others similarly
convicted have been freed, is fraught with
implications at war with equal protection.
 Where a sentence imposes a punishment in
excess of the power of the court to impose,
such sentence is void as to the excess, and
some of the courts hold that the sentence is
void in toto;
o but the weight of authority sustains
the proposition that such a sentence
is void only as to the excess imposed
in case the parts are separable, the
rule being that the petitioner is not
entitled to his discharge on a writ of
habeas corpus unless he has served
out so much of the sentence as was
valid.
 The only means of giving retroactive effect to
a penal provision favorable to the accused is
the writ of habeas corpus.
 Insofar as the remedy of habeas corpus is
concerned, the emphatic affirmation that it is
the only means of benefiting the accused by
the retroactive character of a favorable
decision holds true. Gumabon, et. al. clearly
have thus successfully sustained the burden
of justifying their Constitutional Law II, 2005
( 7 ) Narratives (Berne Guerrero) release.

WHEREFORE, the petition for habeas corpus is


GRANTED, and it is ordered that petitioners be
forthwith set at liberty.